2015 Nissan Murano

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A HEAD-TURNER

When the first Nissan Murano came to our shores more than a decade ago, it was like a breath of fresh air. Most SUVs of that time looked like boxes on wheels. However, Nissan toned down the styling on the second generation Murano. It wasn’t exactly bland, but it lacked the flair of its predecessor. Now, Nissan has redesigned the Murano again, and delivered an SUV with a lot flash.

This 2015 version features strong swooping lines on its flanks, large arrowhead headlights, chrome flourishes at the top and bottom and a “floating” roof that looks like it is supported only by glass at the rear—it really isn’t. This styling will not appeal to everyone, but it will certainly attract those seeking an SUV with pizzazz.

By contrast, the interior isn’t flashy at all. On the contrary, it’s quite refined. My test car was finished in soft parchment-colored leather with complementing blond woodgrain trim on the dash and doors. An eight-inch display screen in the center dash provided brilliant graphics for audio and navigation. Nissan’s “Zero Gravity” seats that contour to your body were nicely finished and super comfortable—on upscale models they’re heated and ventilated.

The Murano seats five comfortably. Folks in the front and rear have plenty of head-and legroom, and the cargo space at nearly 40 cu.-ft., is ample for family travel. Automatic climate control, a rearview camera, satellite radio, smart phone app integration and satellite radio are standard on all models. Furthermore, you can equip your Murano with high-tech safety features like blind-spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and front collision warning with crash mitigation. All are worth the extra cost.

Nissan powers the Murano with the same 3.5-liter, 260-hp, V-6 engine it used in last year’s car, but they have managed to squeeze out better gas mileage. It now averages 24-mpg in combined city/hwy driving, which puts it at the top of its class. It’s teamed with a continuously variable (automatic) transmission, which is one of the best I’ve driven. The engine and transmission work harmoniously— there’s no CVT drone when you hit the gas. The Murano will get to 60 in just 7.5 seconds, according to Edmunds.

The Murano breaks no new ground for SUV handling, but it performs adequately out n the road. Body-lean is moderate on tight corners. The steering does not convey much feel of the road, but is reasonably precise, and the brakes deliver short and straight stops. The ride was similar to other SUVs in its class— bouncy on urban streets, but smooth on freeways.

Murano pricing starts at $30,445 for the base “S” model with front-wheel drive and ranges up to $41,485 for the top-of-the-line Platinum with all-wheel drive. My test car, a Platinum AWD with optional panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with emergency braking had a suggested retail price of $43,745.

 

SNAPSHOT REVIEW:

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